Steinway pianos come to Burr and Burton

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MANCHESTER — Following the acquisition of four new pianos this past August, the halls Burr and Burton Academy's Riley Center have come alive with the sound of music.

Since becoming a "Steinway Select School" in the Fall of 2016 under the leadership of creative arts faculty member Julie Freebern, the school has fund-raised fastidiously to provide students with top-of-the-line musical equipment.

"We are very fortunate to be able to live in a rural community and have the resources to help cultivate the musical growth of our students." said Neil Freebern, the director of Burr and Burton's creative arts department. "As more professionals recognize the quality of our program, we gain access to a talent pool that can be shared with our students."

After establishing the Steinway partnership with the support of Headmaster Mark Tashjian, Julie Freebern worked closely with Steinway & Sons Educational Services Manager Gary Girouard to craft a three phase plan to purchase new instruments. Starting last spring, Burr and Burton initiated a fundraising program to upgrade the music departments pianos.

For students, the new equipment provides an extra incentive to hone their craft.

"These new instruments sparked my interest in playing the piano again," said international student Lisa Li. "I have made friends when I'm practicing the piano. It made me no longer feel lonely here, and it helped me get used to life in America more quickly."

"It is so rare for a high school to offer instruments of such high quality," said student Garret Sands. "All BBA students should be extremely grateful for these new instruments. I know I am."

The new pianos are currently being used to teach private lessons, provide accompaniment for group rehearsals, and to allow students to work on composition and ear-training projects.

During summer months, the instruments will also be utilized by the variety of camps and programs hosted at Burr and Burton including the Manchester Music Festival and the Broadway Boot Camp offered by the Weston Theater Company.

In addition to the recently purchased pianos, Girouard also presented Burr and Burton's music department a $1,000 check to support their scholarship program.

"The music making in our hallways has progressed to a new level," said Neil Freebern. "Our students and staff are very grateful for the support of those who have made a gift to date."

Reach Cherise Madigan at cmadigan@manchesterjournal.com, or by phone at 802-490-6471.

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